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If what has hitherto been said of her

Were all concluded in a single praise,

Scant would it be to serve the present turn. Not only does the beauty I beheld

Transcend ourselves, but truly I believe

Its Maker only may enjoy it all. Vanquished do I confess me by this passage

More than by problem of his theme was ever

O’ercome the comic or the tragic poet; For as the sun the sight that trembles most,

Even so the memory of that sweet smile

My mind depriveth of its very self. From the first day that I beheld her face

In this life, to the moment of this look,

The sequence of my song has ne'er been severed ; But now perforce this sequence must desist

From following her beauty with my verse,

As every artist at his uttermost. Such as I leave her to a greater fame

Than any of my trumpet, which is bringing

Its arduous matter to a final close, With voice and gesture of a perfect leader

She recommenced : “We from the greatest body

Have issued to the heaven that is pure light; Light intellectual replete with love,

Love of true good replete with ecstasy,

Ecstasy that transcendeth every sweetness. Here shalt thou see the one host and the other

Of Paradise, and one in the same aspects

Which at the final judgment thou shalt see.” Even as a sudden lightning that disperses

The visual spirits, so that it deprives

The eye of impress from the strongest objects Thus round about me flashed a living light,

And left me swathed around with such a veil

Of its effulgence, that I nothing saw. “ Ever the Love which quieteth this heaven

Welcomes into itself with such salute,

To make the candle ready for its flame." No sooner had within me these brief words

An entrance found, than I perceived myself

To be uplifted over my own power,
And I with vision new rekindled me,

Such that no light whatever is so pure
But that mine eyes were fortified against it.

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And light I saw in fashion of a river

Fulvid with its effulgence, 'twixt two banks

Depicted with an admirable Spring. Out of this river issued living sparks,

And on all sides sank down into the flowers,

Like unto rubies that are set in gold; And then, as if inebriate with the odours,

They plunged again into the wondrous torrent,

And as one entered issued forth another. “ The high desire, that now inflames and moves thee

To have intelligence of what thou seest,

Pleaseth me all the more, the more it swells.
But of this water it behoves thee drink

Before so great a thirst in thee be slaked.”
Thus said to me the sunshine of mine

eyes; And added : “The river and the topazes

Going in and out, and the laughing of the herbage,

Are of their truth foreshadowing prefaces; Not that these things are difficult in themselves,

But the deficiency is on thy side,

For yet thou hast not vision so exalted.” There is no babe that leaps so suddenly

With face towards the milk, if he awake

Much later than his usual custom is, As I did, that I might make better mirrors

Still of mine eyes, down stooping to the wave

Which flows that we therein be better made. And even as the penthouse of mine eyelids

Drank of it, it forthwith appeared to me

Out of its length to be transformed to round. Then as a folk who have been under masks

Seem other than before, if they divest

The semblance not their own they disappeared in, Thus into greater pomp were changed for me

The flowerets and the sparks, so that I saw

Both of the Courts of Heaven made manifest. O splendour of God! by means of which I saw

The lofty triumph of the realm veracious,

Give me the power to say how it I saw ! There is a light above, which visible

Makes the Creator unto every creature,

Who only in beholding Him has peace,
And it expands itself in circular form

To such extent, that its circumference
Would be too large a girdle for the sun.

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The semblance of it is all made of rays

Reflected from the top of Primal Motion,

Which takes therefrom vitality and power. And as a hill in water at its base

Mirrors itself, as if to see its beauty

When affluent most in verdure and in flowers, So, ranged aloft all round about the light,

Mirrored I saw in more ranks than a thousand

All who above there have from us returned And if the lowest row collect within it

So great a light, how vast the amplitude

Is of this Rose in its extremest leaves ! My vision in the vastness and the height

Lost not itself, but comprehended all

The quantity and quality of that gladness. There near and far nor add nor take away;

For there where God immediately doth govern,

The natural law in naught is relevant. Into the yellow of the Rose Eternal

That spreads, and multiplies, and breathes an odour

Of praise unto the ever-vernal Sun,
As one who silent is and fain would speak,

Me Beatrice drew on, and said: Behold

Of the white stoles how vast the convent is ! Behold how vast the circuit of our city!

Behold our seats so filled to overflowing,

That here henceforward are few people wanting ! On that great throne whereon thine eyes are fixed

For the crown's sake already placed upon it,

Before thou suppest at this wedding feast Shall sit the soul (that is to be Augustus

On earth) of noble Henry, who shall come

To redress Italy ere she be ready.
Blind covetousness, that casts its spell upon you,

Has made you like unto the little child,

Who dies of hunger and drives off the nurse. And in the sacred forum then shall be

A Prefect such, that openly or covert

On the same road he will not walk with him. But long of God he will not be endured

In holy office; he shall be thrust down

Where Simon Magus is for his deserts, And make him of Alagna lower go !”.

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CANTO XXXI.

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In fashion then as of a snow-white rose

Displayed itself to me the saintly host,

Whom Christ in his own blood had made his bride, But the other host, that flying sees and sings

The glory of Him who doth enamour it,

And the goodness that created it so noble, Even as a swarm of bees, that sinks in flowers

One moment, and the next returns again

To where its labour is to sweetness turned, Sank into the great flower, that is adorned

With leaves so many, and thence reascended

To where its love abideth evermore. Their faces had they all of living flame,

And wings of gold, and all the rest so white

No snow unto that limit doth attain.
From bench to bench, into the flower descending,

They carried something of the peace and ardour

Which by the fanning of their flanks they won. Nor did the interposing 'twixt the flower

And what was o'er it of such plenitude

Of flying shapes impede the sight and splendour; Because the light divine so penetrates

The universe, according to its merit,

That naught can be an obstacle against it. This realm secure and full of gladsomeness,

Crowded with ancient people and with modern,

Unto one mark had all its look and love. O Trinal Light, that in a single star

Sparkling upon their sight so satisfies them,

Look down upon our tempest here below! If the barbarians, coming from some region

That every day by Helice is covered,

Revolving with her son whom she delights in, Beholding Rome and all her noble works,

Were wonder-struck, what time the Lateran

Above all mortal things was eminent,
I who to the divine had from the human,

From time unto eternity, had come,
From Florence to a people just and sane,

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With what amazement must I have been filled !

Truly between this and the joy, it was

My pleasure not to hear, and to be mute. And as a pilgrim who delighteth him

In gazing round the temple of his vow,

And hopes some day to retell how it was, So through the living light my way pursuing

Directed I mine eyes o'er all the ranks,

Now up, now down, and now all round about. Faces I saw of charity persuasive,

Embellished by His light and their own smile,

And attitudes adorned with every grace. The general form of Paradise already

My glance had comprehended as a whole,

In no part hitherto remaining fixed, And round I turned me with rekindled wish

My Lady to interrogate of things

Concerning which my mind was in suspense. One thing I meant, another answered me ;

I thought I should see Beatrice, and saw

An Old Man habited like the glorious people. O'erflowing was he in his eyes and cheeks

With joy benign, in attitude of pity

As to a tender father is becoming.
And “She, where is she?” instantly I said ;

Whence he: “To put an end to thy desire,

Me Beatrice hath sent from mine own place. And if thou lookest up to the third round

Of the first rank, again shalt thou behold her

Upon the throne her merits have assigned her.”
Without reply I lifted

up
mine

eyes,
And saw her, as she made herself a crown

Reflecting from herself the eternal rays.
Not from that region which the highest thunders

Is any mortal eye so far removed,

In whatsoever sea it deepest sinks, As there from Beatrice my sight; but this

Was nothing unto me; because her image

Descended not to me by medium blurred. O Lady, thou in whom my hope is strong,

And who for my salvation didst endure

In Hell to leave the imprint of thy feet,
Of whatsoever things I have beheld,

As coming from thy power and from thy goodness
I recognise the virtue and the grace.

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